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Best of PGA Show '11 ... Shafts!!!


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#1 chisag

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 12:40 PM

… It doesn't seem that long ago that graphite shafts replaced their steel counterparts in drivers and fairway woods. The initial offerings were inconsistent, both in manufacturing and performance. I remember a few turning points in graphite shafts. Graphite Design introduced a series of YS shafts that would be sold as aftermarket shafts and made it possible for better players to install a Tour caliber graphite shaft in their woods. Larger heads put more stress on graphite shafts and Aldila introduced the NV series, that had a stiffer tip, but for the first time in a tip stiff design, maintained a very smooth feel. Matrix introduced a series of high performance shafts for those that didn't mind paying for preeminent technology. And in the last several years, quite a few shafts have been introduced that push the envelope for performance. Shafts that produce a lower or higher trajectory, that can also reduce or increase spin. In 2010 alone I played some amazing shafts including the AD-DI6, Xcon6, Voodoo and Eclipse. Shafts are a passion of mine and I am always excited to hit the new shaft offerings at the PGA Show.

… Several shafts stood out on their first swing, including Project X Tour Issue, Miyazaki Blue and the AD-DJ. I could install any of these shafts in my driver and/or fairway woods and never look back. Considering every one of them sells for more than the fairway wood they would be installed in, cost can be an important factor. I also think a shafts feel and perceived performance is so subjective, I simply cannot say any one shaft is the Best of PGA Show … Shafts. I will however review 2 new shafts that I thought gave me everything I want… and then some.

… The Aldila RIP is the fastest growing shaft on the Pro Tours for a reason. It goes where you aim it. It produces a lower ball spin. It is long. It is extremely stable. It has a great feel. And professional's are not the only one's impressed by the RIP's performance. I saw more RIP's as a stock offering in better players woods than any other shaft at the PGA Show. When hitting drivers and fairway woods I found myself searching thru the selections to find a RIP, and I was usually not disappointed. The RIP comes in several different versions. The red eyed Alpha has the lowest torque and produces a low to mid launch with low spin, increased tip stability and better tip stiffness control. The green eyed Beta increases the torque for better feel and has a slightly softer tip flex for mid launch, with low spin. The Gamma has the same launch characteristics as the original Alpha but with a higher balance point for use with heavier heads to achieve a conventional swing weight.

… Aldila has always had some fun with their shaft names. RIP suggests "Rest In Peace" as do the skull and crossbones on the shaft. But RIP also stands for Reverse Interlaminar Placement. Taking what they have learned about the inside tip of the golf shaft, RIP engineers moved the inside materials and shaft patterns to the outside of the shaft. This allowed the carbon fibers to increase the performance of both their flex and torque characteristics. In addition, the hoop strength, or cross section stability was also increased. All adding up to greater shaft stability near the clubhead for maximum shot control. John Oldenburg, VP of Engineering says ""Aldila's RIP Technology employs a completely unique shaft design and exclusive materials to completely transform shaft design from the inside out. Through the use of computer modeling technology and exclusive materials we were able to completely rethink golf shaft design and performance. The result is revolutionary shaft designs with optimum flex and torque characteristics with incredible feel for maximum shot control." Simply stated, what this means for you and I is an extremely accurate shaft that feels great.

… I have to admit "tip stiff" still scares me a little. I like a smooth feeling shaft, and with a longer smooth tempo, I like to really feel the shafts kick through impact. Some tip stiff shafts feel like a 2x4 with my swing. I understand those that put a very strong and quick load on a shaft might feel the opposite, and want their shafts to feel like they are not kicking all over the place with their fast transition and speed through the hitting area. It is kinda like shooting a rubber band. You can slowly pull back a thinner and longer rubber band pretty far and release it allowing the length to generate distance. Or you can take a short, thick rubber band back less with a quick, strong pull and get the same distance. Obviously if you tried to take back the short thick rubber band slowly pulling it very far, it would become unstable in your hands and you would have no control. And pulling back the long thin rubber band a short way with a quick release would also not have enough stored power to achieve any distance or accuracy. The same principles apply to a golf shaft. The RIP feels great and gives me the benefit of shaft tip stability with a smooth kick and feel. I have heard strong and quick hitters say the RIP is very stable and stays with their swing. Obviously the fact that the RIP fits different swing styles with the right flex, is one of the reasons it has gained so much popularity in such a short period of time.  

… I put an Alpha RIP 60-s in my Cobra ZL and played a few rounds with it after the show. After knocking off the rust, I had one of my best driving days ever. The RIP gives me a very consistent ball flight, a mid-high trajectory that looked the same on every drive. It is the most stable shaft I have hit on a golf course. Since the ZL allows me to change shafts in the middle of a round, I put in the Beta RIP 60-s and was expecting it to suit my smooth swing a little better. I have certainly seen early comments from those that said the RIP Alpha was difficult to load and was a very stout shaft. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Alpha worked better for my swing in a driver. The Beta launched a little higher than I would like in my driver, so I will put one in a fairway wood where I think it just might be ideal. This just goes to show that while player's opinions are important for pointing you in the right direction, there is no substitution for actually hitting golf equipment.  

…I also find it very interesting that you can see the RIP graphite ply's structure in the tip section. I have never cared much what a shaft looked like as long as it gives me the performance I want. Sure, I may prefer one color over another but it would never influence what shaft I install in any given club. That said, I have to admit the RIP is the coolest looking shaft I have ever seen. From the tip sections transparency, to the beautifully etched RIP below the grip and the red/green/gold eyed skull and crossbones on the flat black scheme, it really is a work of art. Aldila certainly knows what it has with RIP technology, and offers the RIP in 60, 70, 80, 85 and 105 gram versions that can be installed in drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. RIP technology is so stable, the engineers are working on a RIP iron shaft, that I think will finally bring graphite iron shafts into the mainstream. I am very excited about the possibilities of a RIP iron shaft and can see having a RIP shaft in every one of my clubs, something I never dreamed possible. Now that Aldila has also introduced the Beta and Gamma versions, I think the RIP is a must demo if you are looking at new drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, or if you are looking to reshaft your current club.

… The other shaft that should demand your attention in 2011 is the Nunchuk from nVentix. Before I explain just how and why this shaft is so extraordinary, I feel I need to warn you about the marketing of the Nunchuk. There are many ways to introduce a product and admit I am not an expert in that field. If I had not hit the Nunchuk shaft at the PGA Show, I might ignore their website's infomercial-like product presentation. However, the Adams Tight Lies and Orlimar TriMetals became very successful through similar campaigns, so maybe it is a non issue. I only mention this because I heard some folks compare it to the Hammer POW! That would be a huge mistake, because the Nunchuk is not a gimmick and it has not only won on the PGA Tour, it impressed working PGA Pro's that bought the Nunchuk  for their personal use with their own money right on the spot. There is no better endorsement for a new product at the PGA Show than that!

… The Nunchuk shaft is so radical compared to conventional design, that you simply cannot compare it to other shafts on the market. Specifications like weight, torque and flex for the Nunchuk are very misleading when compared to a conventional shaft. Most, if not all shafts depend on a well timed kick through impact for maximum performance. You swing it back and, if you do not cast from the top, you release the shafts energy on the downswing with centrifugal force that bends the shaft forward through the hitting area. My son is a 6'3" 255 Defensive End at the collegiate level with a very good golf swing. He can hit his 4 iron about 250 off the tee. I built his irons with dynamic gold X100 shafts and I tipped them 1". When hitting my 4 iron with KB Tour stiff flex shafts, he can hook it off the golf course. He is so strong and my shaft bends forward with too much kick in his hands. Putting him in the right shaft maximized his strong swing with a shorter and more controllable kick. Conversely, my wife is playing a soft tipped DVS in an A-flex. She has a very smooth, but much less powerful swing. She needs the extra distance that a well timed kick with a flexible shaft provides through the hitting area. Of course, this extra distance and accuracy is only realized if every swing is the same. This is exactly why better golfers buy expensive aftermarket shafts that give them the best performance for their highly repeatable swing. The majority of these shafts concentrate on a stable tip section, utilizing different materials in proprietary designs to achieve the utmost in consistency. The better player and Professional's shaft kick is almost identical on every swing, resulting in the optimum distance and direction control a premium shaft provides. The Nunchuk takes the design parameter of kick, completely out of the equation.

… To my knowledge, the Nunchuk is the first shaft to eliminate the kick from the golf swing. The design goal is to provide a shaft that is in a straight line through impact on very swing. To achieve this goal, conventional measurements can be thrown out the window. The Nunchuk is comprised of two very stiff sections in the butt and tip, joined by a more flexible mid section. Virtually all conventional shafts twist from tip end to high in the butt section, but the Nunchuk allows for any bending to be limited to the mid section of the shaft. The proprietary allocation of fibers in the mid section of the Nunchuk is designed to take up the preponderance of bending. Because the tip section, the weakest point of most shafts will invariably give first, the Nunchuk has a very thick tip section. In fact it is almost solid, in order to maintain a straight line through impact. This extremely stiff tip and stiff butt section is where the Nunchuk name comes from. Used in martial arts, nunchuks consist of two stiff pieces joined by a more flexible chain. This design increases the speed of the end of one of pieces when swung. The same principal is applied to the speed of the clubhead with the Nunchuk shaft. So instead of the bending occurring at the tip of the shaft through impact, the Nunchuk's mid section bends or kicks early in the swing and recovers well before impact, delivering more clubhead speed in a straight line. Not only does this develop speed, but having your shaft in a straight line though impact means the effective loft of your clubhead controls your trajectory, so every shot has the same ball flight. While I cannot confirm distance gains because I was hitting a Nunchuk shafted driver into a very stiff wind on a driving range, I can say the consistency was amazing. It was as if there were a tunnel in the sky and every shot went through that tunnel.

… The Nunchuk not only bends and recovers before impact, but any twisting of the shaft also occurs early in the swing. The extremely stiff tip and butt sections have virtually no twist at all, and any twisting is limited to the mid section of the shaft. That makes this design highly resistant to all twisting, and the recovery from twisting occurs very fast and prior to impact with the ball. Again, the benefit to the golfer is the head being in the same position through impact. Droop refers to the head bending the shaft down through impact. The stiffness of the Nunchuk also virtually removes droop from the equation. The Nunchuk eliminates three factors that play a huge role in consistency. With no droop, twisting or kick through impact, the face angle and loft is always the same. Obviously this is an engineering feat that took years to develop, from a mind that had to think outside the box. The Nunchuk is the result of over 40 years of research by Australian Gerry Hogan. Gerry authored one of the mostly widely read golf instructional books in Austraila, and has spent a lifetime researching human mechanics. Gerry's breadth of knowledge goes far beyond golf, and is highly regarded for the application of his research in sports. Because the ends of the Nunchuk need to be very stiff and stable, they are quite heavy. But the counter balancing makes it feel like a 70gm shaft and I found it very easy to swing. The "flex" is off the charts stiff, but since the shaft does not bend through impact, flex is irrelevant. This is where the true genius of the Nunchuk is realized. There is no flex, so it is a one flex fits all design! Jhonattan Vegas's 120mph swing, my 100mph swing and typical amateurs 85mph swing perform the same with the Nunchuk shaft design. If you are shaking your head in disbelief, I can assure you I felt exactly the same way before I watched quite a few golfers hit the Nunchuk on Demo Day. "Jaw dropping" is not just an adjective, but an actual description of what I saw so many players do after hitting the Nunchuk for the first time. I saw women with good swings enjoy the Nunchuk's performance just as much as strong hitters and smooth swingers. And the feel is just so solid. The best comparison I can give you is the Nunchuk feels like a wooden bat compared to an aluminum bat. I think of all the products I demo'ed at the PGA Show, the Nunchuk is the product most difficult to describe in words. You really have to hit it to believe it, and I highly recommend you do just that.

… So we have two awesome new shafts that achieve their goal of stability, accuracy and distance in completely different ways. The RIP should be easy to demo because it comes stock in many of the 2011 clubs available right now in most retail outlets. I already have a RIP in my driver, 3 wood and will also install two in my hybrids, and hope to have the RIP iron shafts installed as soon as they are available for testing. I am equally intrigued by how the Nunchuk will perform on a golf course I am familiar with. I know it is uncanny straight, and I am very excited to see if it's distance matches it's accuracy. If your club fitter does not have a Nunchuk for you to demo, I would suggest you encourage them to contact nVentix and get one. I will do a follow up review sooner than PGA Show winners, because I really believe these two shafts have the potential to improve anyone's game in 2011.

Sam Derence
IGR

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#2 leftyshindig

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 12:54 PM

Great review as always. I was waiting for the BEST OF shaft review. Love the RIP!
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#3 SpinMill75

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 12:59 PM

Wow....nice review.  One of the best I've read on this forum.

Thanks

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#4 DNice26

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:00 PM

Awesome review......thanks!  Now to find a Nunchuk.....
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#5 FairwayFred

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:20 PM

Great review!  
I am a big fan of the Nunchuck personally.  I have 3 in play atm and they are so consistent and straight it is almost unbelievable.  I find distance to be about the same as any other high end shaft.  I dont think I have picked up any distance but I definitely have not lost any.  I would definitely suggest anyone out there giving it a try.  You will definitely enjoy playing from the short grass more often.

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#6 Jacob Mac

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:51 PM

The Nunchuck shaft sounds interesting.  I would love to give one a go.  Does it have any affect on launch angle?

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#7 highdraw69

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 04:38 PM

what a truly great write-up; thanks for all the info!

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#8 chisag

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 06:34 PM

View PostJacob Mac, on 17 March 2011 - 03:51 PM, said:

The Nunchuck shaft sounds interesting.  I would love to give one a go.  Does it have any affect on launch angle?


...  Since the shaft is in a straight line at impact, the loft of your club combined with the lean of your shaft, control your launch angle. With no kick, you get the same trajectory on every swing. If you have a repeatable swing, your launch angle will be very consistent.
Cobra F8 ... Even Flow Black 65s
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#9 kwantfm

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 05:45 AM

Are promo codes available for the Nunchuk shafts?  Perhaps we could arrange something for WRX members?

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#10 smgoldstein

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 10:47 AM

I guess you don't have to Pure this shaft as well.


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#11 kevcarter

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 11:26 AM

I have never learned close to as much from ANY post on shafts. Thanks Sam, you are amazing!

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#12 PreppySlapCut

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 12:00 PM

Always among the best reviews of the year.  Thanks again!
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#13 chisag

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 11:16 AM

View Postkevcarter, on 27 March 2011 - 11:26 AM, said:

I have never learned close to as much from ANY post on shafts. Thanks Sam, you are amazing!

... Thanks Kev, here is a little more. I need to make a follow up correction on the Nunchuk. After reading my review, Gerry Hogan the Nunchuk shaft designer said the  review was an “Excellent article, well thought out and presented” but  realized an error in interpretation by both the website and my review. It has nothing to do with the Nunchuks performance, just the actual physics of the shaft. The huge proportion of fibers in the mid section actually negate twisting in this section. Any limited twisting in the shaft occurs between the bottom of this mid section to the top of the hosel. Because of the inherent stiffness in the tip section, the very small amount of twisting occurs very early in the swing and it's recovery is virtually instantaneous.

Edited by chisag, 28 March 2011 - 11:20 AM.

Cobra F8 ... Even Flow Black 65s
Cobra F8 15* ... Even Flow Blue 75s
Cobra F6 Baffler ... Kuro Kage Black 75s
TaylorMade UDi 19* ... HZRDUS Black 85hy
4-pw TaylorMade P790 ... Recoil Prototype 95's
SM6 52* F Grind /SM7 D Grind 58* ... Recoil 110s
Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5 Select  33"

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